How finance companies discriminate against the over-50s

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While there's plenty to celebrate about turning 50, one thing may come as a shock: your insurance premiums could rocket overnight.

While age discrimination is banned under the Equality Act, it's perfectly legal for financial services companies to decide that middle-aged people are a bigger risk.

This means they can charge the older-50s more or turn them down altogether - even when there's no other reason than their age.

Pensioners could face huge insurance bill for France holiday after Brexit

And according to the latest research from specialist over-50s insurer SunLife, one-fifth of the over-50s think they have experienced age discrimination when trying to take out insurance - particularly travel and car insurance.

The shocking rise of age discrimination

One respondent said her travel insurance premium increased as soon as she turned 50.

"I phoned for travel insurance with a company I had used the year before when I was 49, but the rate went up drastically with the knowledge that I had turned 50," she said. "My circumstances hadn't changed from the year before."

And a woman in her 70s said her car insurance premium went up when she turned 70. "I've never had an accident so think it is totally unfair, especially as I spent over 20 years training minibus drivers," she said.

Over 45? Then you're not welcome at work

And it is not just insurers that are discriminating against people over 50; SunLife's research also found that 20% of those surveyed thought they had been refused finance because of their age.

One 69-year-old woman said when she wanted a loan for a car she realised her age was against her and out of the question for her older husband.

"As car loans are generally secured against the car I found this even more difficult to understand," she said.

Meanwhile another lady, who has always had a good credit score, was refused new credit cards once she became a pensioner.

"Age discrimination is still a real challenge facing many people over 50 because of outdated stereotypes and ignorance," says Simon Stanney, general insurance director at SunLife.

"But the reality is, the growing over 50s sector is worth £320 billion a year to the UK economy and this is only set to increase, yet over-50s are often neglected, with very few providers offering truly competitive cover."

Celebrities who insured their bodies
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Celebrities who insured their bodies
Keith Richards, meanwhile, supposedly has the middle finger on his left hand insured for £1 million. For the sake of clarity, this is because he considers it the most important for playing the guitar - rather than for any more unpleasant reasons.

Taylor Swift has hit the headlines in the gossip magazines over claims that she’s had her legs insured for $40 million ahead of her World Tour, but she’s not the first.

Heidi Klum reportedly had her legs insured for $2 million. She said in 2011 that she hadn’t chosen to do it: a client of hers had taken the step.

Jamie Lee Curtis was said to have had her legs insured for $2.8 million. The policy was taken out when she was advertising stockings - and there’s just the smallest chance that it was done to generate some publicity for the campaign.

Michael Flatley apparently has legs worth exactly the same as Taylor Swift’s: his were insured for $40 million.

His website states that he holds the record for the ‘highest insurance premium placed on a dancer’s legs’. Technically this claim still stands.

Others have a different physical priority. ‘Ugly Betty’ star America Ferrera became the face of a tooth-whitening product, and Aquafresh was said to have taken out a $10 million policy to protect their star’s assets.
Some musicians, meanwhile, went for more obviously important aspects of their bodies - which is why Bruce Springsteen is said to have insured his vocal chords for $6 million

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